We were initially commissioned by Swansea Metropolitan University (now University of Wales Trinity Saint David) to explore the viability of creating a performing arts facility at Swansea’s former Albert Hall with the University as the lead partner.
The building, which is adjacent to an existing facility of the University, had been empty for several years without interest in the wider market and was deteriorating and causing issues for the University with shared party walls. More broadly, there was local community interest in safeguarding one of the city’s few remaining pre-War buildings as part of its built and cultural heritage.
What we did
We developed a concept for the building to act as a creative industries focus for the city, including a survey of the building’s condition and outline drawings and costings. The University determined that the building was not viable for them to pursue as a lead partner but remained supportive of the proposed initiative and interested in linking with a private developer if one could be found.
However, there was a significant viability gap between the redevelopment costs and potential returns for a commercial developer. So, absent of a lead body to drive the project, we used the work we had done to inform a funding application that we assembled and submitted to the Welsh Government’s Building for the Future Fund. Importantly, the funds were tied to the building and not the applicant, which meant that they remained ‘ring fenced’ to make the task of redeveloping the building more feasible and therefore more attractive to potential commercial developers.
Impact of our work
Following our work in securing significant capital funds for the building, a scheme is now progressing at the site, preserving an important aspect of the city’s built heritage and reducing urban blight, with an exciting and high quality initiative that will develop a creative industries focused facility for the city.